Ah Christmas, a time of joy, happiness, companionship, and laughter. Or a time of arguments, tension and not being able to exit a room fast enough? Don't get me wrong, I am not Christmas-hating ( it is actually one of my favorite time of the year) but I am realistic :) When something sets you apart from the rest ( Like being Vegan ) Especially around the dinner table, there's potential for things to feel a little Fraught...
That Pre-Christmas worry is something that all vegans understand and sympathize with, so here are some tips to get you through the big day and hopefully make the lead-up to it less stressful as well.
It is just a day
Like a wedding day, or a birthday or any other day in your life that gets built up into something ridiculously big, Christmas Day is just one, single day. When you look at it like that it seems easier to navigate. Despite the inevitable family politics, you can and will get through it. And with a little planning, you can enjoy it.
There can't be no head- in the sand scenario when you are a vegan, Christmas Day is all about The Food, so there is literally no getting away from it. If you know what is going to happen on the day and how you'll feel a lot more in control and actually get some shut eye on Christmas Eve.
Offer to Host
Bring everyone into your "Zone of Power": Offer to host the Christmas meal and you will have control over the menu. Treat your family to a vegan Christmas and they won't need to worry about a thing. If you're concerned about certain family members , play up the novelty factor. You may find that whoever is normally in charge of the cooking becomes a valuable ally- a year off! If you are not fond of being in the kitchen , this option may send you into a panic cf course!
This has worked really well for us over recent years, and it means you can easily cater for meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans, Divvy up the dishes between you, leaving no one person responsible for the entire thing, and it doesn't matter who actually hosts. It's great for preventing those panicky phone calls at the night before, or embarrassment at the table when someone less it slip that the roast potatoes have been cooked in duck fat. You can introduce dishes that wouldn't otherwise feature. great for showing people how diverse and tasty vegan food can be.
If tradition is the name of the game and the mention of the potluck goes down like a lead balloon, offer to be the sous chef on the day or at least assist in the meal planning . Panic often ensues at the mention of the "V Word" due to a lack of knowledge , so offer to help and make it easy. Explain what being vegan is , what you can eat, and focus on the Positive- most of the meals os vegan anyways.
Be the vegan you wish you'd met before you went vegan !
It's tough to be surrounded by lots of meat, the snaking of lips and level of gluttony seems at no other time of the year, but the truth is that you will only conform to the stereotype of the grumpy vegan if you are , in fact, being a grumpy vegan. you will get questions about what you do or don't eat, so be prepared for this and have a ready-make answers up your sleeve. If you know you can respond to anything quickly and knowledgeably , many people will take the lead from you . So if you keep things light hearted and relaxed it's likely they will too. And don't forget to keep everyone's glasses nicely topped up!
Christmas Day is your day too, so enjoy it! Make your own traditions, have fun finding ways to veganize the usual Christmas face to show your family that being vegan is normal and natural. We love planning our dishes and get ridiculously happy when everyone tries a bit.
*470 cashew milk *2 tbsp. Maple syrup *Ground nutmeg and cinnamon to taste(a couple of pinches) *Dark Rum or Bourbon ( amount to suit your Mood :)
Add milk, maple syrup, nutmeg, and cinnamon to a saucepan and heat. Taste when starting to bubble and add a little extra of the spices if desired. Stir in the alcohol just before serving. Pour into mugs and enjoy!
Best served beside roaring fire and in the company of your loved one, family and your pup if you have one. Serve cold if you prefer.
(This article was written of the vegan food and living magazine)